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Five Healing Plants for Better Sleep

Sleep can often be interrupted due to a busy lifestyle, insomnia, aches and pains and many variations of stress.  

The following herbs do not put you to sleep, but contain a vast amount of properties to help calm down your nervous system, ease spasms and reduce stress and anxiety in the body so you can relax and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.  

1) Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Beatrice Society - Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Herbs can be used in teas, tinctures and capsules but in this case, lavender is best used as an oil.  The essential oils in lavender can help to decrease anxiety and allow you to have a better night’s sleep. A single-blind study found evidence suggesting lavender essential oils when diffused into the air have an effective treatment for insomnia, while another Study found that taking lavender oil in capsules experienced significant decreases in anxiety.

2) Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata)

Beatrice Society - Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata)

Passion flower is a nervine and helps with nervous restlessness and mild sleeping difficulties.  One review  found it to have a significant sedative and calming effect. Other researchers recommend it as a great add-on to traditional anxiety treatments.

3) Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)

Beatrice Society - Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)

Skullcap is a nervine known for its ability to calm stress and soothe anxious feelings without the effects of drowsiness. Clinical research indicates that this calming effect happens because of a compound called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is a neurotransmitter that calms nerves and is believed to be key for treating anxiety to have a restful night.

4) Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Beatrice Society - Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Valerian has multiple sedative effects.  The roots of this herb are often used to treat insomnia, restlessness, and anxiety.  Valerenic acid in the valerian roots inhibits the breakdown of the neurotransmitter GABA. This can induce a better quality sleep.   This study concluded that valerian can improve sleep quality.  More trials are needed to standardise dosing.

5) Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Beatrice Society - Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family and has been used as a herb that helps to induce sleep and calm the body.  Two double-blind, placebo-controlled studies found that ingesting lemon balm daily increased rosmarinic acid in their body and improved mood and cognitive performance.  

**This list of common herbal supplements is for informational purposes only. Talk to your Doctor, Naturopath or Health Care Provider to discuss specific medical conditions or symptoms or if you are taking prescriptions.

Photo credits: Brooke Lundmark

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